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H.R. 1 (104th): Congressional Accountability Act of 1995


The text of the bill below is as of Jan 12, 1995 (Passed the House). The bill was not enacted into law.


HR 1 EH1S

104th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1


AN ACT

To make certain laws applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Congressional Accountability Act of 1995’.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act:

      (1) CONGRESSIONAL EMPLOYEE- The term ‘congressional employee’ means--

        (A) an individual on the payroll of an employing office of the House of Representatives;

        (B) an individual on the payroll of an employing office of the Senate;

        (C) an individual on the payroll of an employing office of the Architect of the Capitol; and

        (D) an individual on the payroll of an employing office of an instrumentality.

      (2) EMPLOYEE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- The term ‘individual on the payroll of an employing office in the House of Representatives’ means--

        (A) an individual who is covered under rule LI of the House of Representatives, as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act;

        (B) any applicant for a position that is to be occupied by an individual described in subparagraph (A); or

        (C) any individual who was formerly an employee described in subparagraph (A) and whose claim of a violation arises out of the individual’s employment.

      (3) EMPLOYEE IN THE SENATE- The term ‘individual on the payroll of an employing office in the Senate’ means--

        (A) any employee whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate;

        (B) any applicant for a position that is to be occupied by an individual described in subparagraph (A)); or

        (C) any individual who was formerly an employee described in subparagraph (A) and whose claim of a violation arises out of the individual’s employment.

      (4) EMPLOYEE OF THE ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL- The term ‘individual on the payroll of an employing office of the Architect of the Capitol’ means--

        (A) an employee of the Architect of the Capitol or an individual within the administrative jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol if such employee or individual is paid from funds under a law providing appropriations for the legislative branch;

        (B) any applicant for a position that is to be occupied by an employee or individual described in subparagraph (A); or

        (C) any individual who was formerly an employee or individual described in subparagraph (A) and whose claim of a violation arises out of the individual’s employment.

      (5) EMPLOYEE OF AN INSTRUMENTALITY- The term ‘individual on the payroll of an employing office of an instrumentality’ means--

        (A) any individual on the payroll of an instrumentality of the legislative branch of the Federal Government;

        (B) any applicant for a position that is to be occupied by an individual described in subparagraph (A); or

        (C) any individual who was formerly an employee described in subparagraph (A) and whose claim of a violation arises out of the individual’s instrumentality employment.

      (6) HEAD OF AN EMPLOYING OFFICE- The term ‘head of an employing office’ means the individual who has final authority to appoint, hire, discharge, and set the terms, conditions, or privileges of the Congressional employment of an employee.

SEC. 3. APPLICATION OF LAWS.

    (a) LAWS WHICH WILL APPLY- The following laws shall apply, as prescribed by this subsection, to the legislative branch of the Federal Government:

      (1) The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (2) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (3) The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (4) The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.) (including remedies available to private employees), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (5) Titles I and V of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2611 et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (6) The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (other than section 19) (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) (subject to subsection (c)), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (7) Chapter 71 (relating to Federal labor management relations) of title 5, United States Code, effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (8) The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (29 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, except that this Act shall not apply to the United States Capitol Police.

      (9) The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (29 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (10) The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791), effective on the earlier of the effective date of applicable regulations of the Office of Compliance under section 5 or 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    The laws referred to in this subsection which apply now to congressional employees shall continue to apply to such employees until the effective date such laws are made applicable in accordance with this subsection.

    (b) LAWS WHICH MAY BE MADE APPLICABLE- Any provision of Federal law shall, to the extent that it relates to the terms and conditions of employment (including hiring, promotion or demotion, salary and wages, overtime compensation, benefits, work assignments or reassignments, termination, protection from discrimination in personnel actions, health and safety of employees, and family and medical leave) of employees apply to the legislative branch of the Federal Government in accordance with this Act.

    (c) COMPLIANCE WITH OSHA- The legislative branch of the Federal Government shall comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 as follows: If a citation of a violation of such Act is received, action to abate the violation shall take place as soon as possible, but no later than the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the citation is issued.

SEC. 4. OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established in the legislative branch an Office of Compliance (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Office’).

    (b) COMPOSITION-

      (1) BOARD OF DIRECTORS- The Office shall have a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall consist of 8 individuals appointed jointly by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Appointments of the first 8 members of the Board of Directors shall be completed not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (2) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Chairperson of the Board of Directors shall appoint, may establish the compensation of, and may terminate, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, an Executive Director (referred to in this Act as the ‘executive director’). The compensation of the executive director may not exceed the compensation for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code. The executive director shall be an individual with training or expertise in the application of the laws referred to in section 3 to employment. The appointment of the first executive director shall be completed no later than 120 days after the initial appointment of the Board of Directors.

        (B) OFFICE- The executive director may not be an individual who holds or may have held the position of Member of the House of Representatives or Senator. The executive director may not be an individual who holds the position of employee of the House of Representatives or the Senate but the executive director may be an individual who held such a position at least 4 years before appointment as executive director. The term of office of the executive director shall be a single term of 5 years.

    (c) BOARD OF DIRECTORS QUALIFICATIONS-

      (1) SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS-

        (A) LOBBYING- No individual who engages in, or is otherwise employed in, lobbying of the Congress and who is required under the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act to register with the Clerk of the House of Representatives or the Secretary of the Senate shall be considered eligible for appointment to, or service on, the Board of Directors.

        (B) OFFICE- No member of the Board of Directors appointed under subsection (b)(1) may hold or may have held the position of Member of the House of Representatives or Senator, may hold the position of employee of the House of Representatives or Senate, or may have held such a position within 4 years of the date of appointment.

      (2) HOLDING OFFICE- If during a term of office a member of the Board of Directors engages in an activity described in paragraph (2)(A), such position shall be declared vacant and a successor shall be selected in accordance with subsection (b)(1).

      (3) VACANCIES- A vacancy in the Board of Directors shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

    (d) BOARD OF DIRECTORS TERM OF OFFICE-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), membership on the Board of Directors shall be for 5 years. A member shall only be eligible for appointment for a single term of office.

      (2) FIRST APPOINTMENTS- Of the members first appointed to the Board of Directors--

        (A) 2 shall have a term of office of 2 years,

        (B) 2 shall have a term of office of 3 years,

        (C) 2 shall have a term of office of 4 years, and

        (D) 2 shall have a term of office of 5 years,

      as designated at the time of appointment by the persons specified in subsection (b)(1).

      (3) REMOVAL- Any member of the Board of Directors may be removed from office by a majority decision of the appointing authorities described in subsection (b)(1) and only for--

        (A) disability that substantially prevents the member from carrying out the duties of the member,

        (B) incompetence,

        (C) neglect of duty,

        (D) malfeasance, or

        (E) a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude.

    (e) CHAIRPERSON- The Chairperson of the Board of Directors shall be appointed from the members of the Board of Directors by the members of the Board.

    (f) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS-

      (1) PER DIEM- Each member of the Board of Directors shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Board.

      (2) TRAVEL EXPENSES- Each member of the Board of Directors shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, for each day the member is engaged in the performance of duties away from the home or regular place of business of the member.

    (g) OFFICE STAFF- The executive director may appoint and fix the compensation of such staff, including hearing officers, as are necessary to carry out this Act.

    (h) DETAILEES- The executive director may, with the prior consent of the Government department or agency concerned, use the services of any such department or agency, including the services of members or personnel of the General Accounting Office Personnel Appeals Board.

    (i) CONSULTANTS- In carrying out this Act, the executive director may procure the temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or intermittent services of individual consultants or organizations thereof.

SEC. 5. STUDY AND REGULATIONS.

    (a) INITIAL ACTION-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Board of Directors shall conduct a study of the manner in which the laws made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under section 3(a) should apply. The Board of Directors shall complete such study and report the results to Congress not later than 180 days after the date of the first appointment of the first executive director.

      (2) INSTRUMENTALITIES- The Board of Directors shall include in its study under paragraph (1) an examination of the procedures used by the instrumentalities to enforce the application of laws applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government and a determination as to whether to direct the instrumentality to make improvements in its regulations and procedures so as to assure that procedures as effective as the procedures set forth in sections 7 through 12 will apply. If the instrumentality has no such regulations and procedures, the Board may direct the instrumentality to adopt the requisite regulations and procedures, or, if deemed necessary, in lieu thereof may itself adopt regulations pursuant to this section or authorize use of the procedures pursuant to sections 7 through 12.

    (b) CONTINUING ACTION- On an ongoing basis the Board of Directors--

      (1) shall determine which of the laws referred to in section 3(b) should apply to the legislative branch of the Federal Government and if it should, the manner in which it should be made applicable;

      (2) shall study the application to the legislative branch of the Federal Government of provisions of Federal law referred to in section 3 that are enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act;

      (3) may propose regulations with respect to such application in accordance with subsection (c); and

      (4) may review the regulations in effect under subsection (e)(1) and make such amendments as may be appropriate in accordance with subsection (c).

    (c) REGULATIONS-

      (1) LAWS MADE APPLICABLE-

        (A) GENERAL RULE- Not later than 180 days after the date of the completion of the study under subsection (a), the Board of Directors shall, in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, propose regulations to implement the requirements of the laws made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under section 3(a). The Board of Directors shall provide a period of at least 30 days for comment on the proposed regulations.

        (B) CONGRESSIONAL NOTICE- In addition to publishing a general notice of proposed rulemaking under section 553(b) of title 5, United States Code, the Board of Directors shall concurrently submit such notice for publication in the Congressional Record.

        (C) AMENDMENTS AND REPEALS- When proposing regulations under subparagraph (A) to implement the requirements of a law referred to in section 3(a), the Board of Directors shall recommend to the Congress changes in or repeals of existing law to accommodate the application of such law to the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

        (D) FINAL REGULATIONS- The Board of Directors shall, in accordance with such section 553, issue final regulations not later than 60 days after the end of the comment period on the proposed regulations.

      (2) CONTINUING ACTION-

        (A) GENERAL RULE- Not later than 180 days after the date of the completion of the study or a determination under subsection (b), the Board of Directors shall, in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, propose regulations that specify which of the provisions of Federal law considered in such study shall apply to the legislative branch of the Federal Government. The Board of Directors shall provide a period of at least 30 days for comment on the proposed regulations.

        (B) CONGRESSIONAL NOTICE- In addition to publishing a general notice of proposed rulemaking under section 553(b) of title 5, United States Code, the Board of Directors shall concurrently submit such notice for publication in the Congressional Record.

        (C) AMENDMENTS AND REPEALS- When proposing regulations under subparagraph (A) specifying which of the provisions of Federal law referred to in section 3(b) shall apply to the legislative branch of the Federal Government, the Board of Directors shall recommend to the Congress changes in or repeals of existing law to accommodate the application of such law to the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

        (D) FINAL REGULATIONS- The Board of Directors shall, in accordance with such section 553, issue final regulations not later than 60 days after the end of the comment period on the proposed regulations.

      (3) REGULATION REQUIREMENTS- Regulations under paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be consistent with the regulations issued by an agency of the executive branch of the Federal Government under the provision of law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government, including portions relating to remedies.

      (4) ACTION IF DISAPPROVED- If a regulation is disapproved by a concurrent resolution considered under subsection (e), not later than 60 days after the date of the disapproval, the Board of Directors shall propose a new regulation to replace the regulation disapproved. The action of the Board of Directors under this paragraph shall be in accordance with the applicable requirements of this subsection.

    (d) TRANSMITTAL- A final regulation issued under subsection (c) shall be transmitted to the Congress for consideration under subsection (e).

    (e) TAKING EFFECT OF REGULATIONS-

      (1) GENERAL RULE- Subject to subsection (f), a final regulation which is issued under subsection (c) shall take effect upon the expiration of 60 days from the date the final regulation is issued unless disapproved by the Congress by concurrent resolution.

      (2) CONCURRENT RESOLUTION- A concurrent resolution referred to in paragraph (1) may be introduced in the House of Representatives or the Senate within 5 days of session after the date on which the Board of Directors issues the final regulation to which the concurrent resolution applies. The matter after the resolving clause of the resolution shall be as follows: ‘That Congress disapproves the issuance of final regulations of the Office of Compliance as issued on XXXXXX (the blank space being appropriately filled in).’.

      (3) PROCEDURE- A concurrent resolution referred to in paragraph (1) shall be referred to the appropriate committee of the House involved. If no concurrent resolution is reported within 15 days of session after the Board of Directors issues final regulations under subsection (c)(1)(D) or (c)(2)(D), the committee to which the concurrent resolution was referred shall be discharged from further consideration of the first such concurrent resolution introduced and the concurrent resolution shall be placed on the appropriate calendar of the House involved. Any meeting of a committee on a concurrent resolution shall be open to the public. Within 5 days of session after the concurrent resolution is reported or discharged, it shall be in order as a matter of highest privilege to move to proceed to its consideration and such motion shall not be debatable. The concurrent resolution shall be debatable for not to exceed 4 hours equally divided between proponents and opponents and it shall not be subject to amendment. If, prior to the adoption of a concurrent resolution by one House, that House receives a concurrent resolution of the other House with respect to the same regulations, then the procedure in that House shall be the same as if no concurrent resolution had been received from the other House, but vote on final adoption shall be on the concurrent resolution of the other House. If a concurrent resolution is received by a House in which no identical concurrent resolution has been introduced, it shall be referred to the appropriate committee and the same procedures and 20-day period for action shall apply to the consideration of the concurrent resolution by that House as would apply to an introduced concurrent resolution.

    (f) RULEMAKING POWER- The provisions of subsection (e) of this section are enacted by the Congress--

      (1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, and as such they shall be considered as part of the rules of each House, respectively, or of that House to which they specifically apply, and such rules shall supersede other rules only to the extent that they are inconsistent therewith; and

      (2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of such House.

    (g) OPEN TO THE PUBLIC- Any meeting of the Board of Directors held in connection with a study under subsection (a) or (b) shall be open to the public. Any meeting of the Board of Directors in connection with a regulation under subsection (c) shall be open to the public.

SEC. 6. OTHER FUNCTIONS.

    (a) RULES OF THE OFFICE- The executive director shall adopt rules governing the procedures of the Office, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, including the procedures of hearing boards, which shall be submitted for publication in the Congressional Record. The rules may be amended in the same manner. The executive director may consult with the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, the Legal Counsel of the Senate, and the General Counsel of the House of Representatives on the adoption of rules.

    (b) INVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY- The executive director shall have authority to conduct such investigations as the executive director requires to implement sections 8 through 10 and section 12.

    (c) DUTIES- The Office shall--

      (1) carry out a program of education for Members of Congress and other employing authorities of the legislative branch of the Federal Government respecting the laws made applicable to them and a program to inform individuals of their rights under laws applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government and under sections 7 through 12,

      (2) in carrying out the program under paragraph (1), distribute the telephone number and address of the Office, procedures for action under sections 7 through 12, and any other information the executive director deems appropriate for distribution, distribute such information to Members of Congress and other employing authorities of the legislative branch of the Federal Government in a manner suitable for posting, provide such information to new employees of the legislative branch of the Federal Government, distribute such information to the residences of congressional employees, and conduct seminars and other activities designed to educate employers and employees in such information,

      (3) compile and publish statistics on the use of the Office by congressional employees, including the number and type of contacts made with the Office, on the reason for such contacts, on the number of employees who initiated proceedings with the Office under sections 7 through 12 and the result of such proceedings, and on the number of employees who filed a complaint under section 10, the basis for the complaint, and the action taken on the complaint, and

      (4) within 180 days of the initial appointment of the executive director and in conjunction with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate, develop a system for the collection of demographic data respecting the composition of the congressional employees, including race, sex, and wages, and a system for the collection of information on employment practices, including family leave and flexible work hours, in Congressional offices.

    (d) REPORT- Within one year of the date the system referred to in subsection (c)(4) is developed and annually thereafter, the Board of Directors shall submit to Congress a report on the information collected under such system. Each report after the first report shall contain a comparison and evaluation of data contained in the previous report.

SEC. 7. PROCEDURE FOR CONSIDERATION OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS.

    The procedure for consideration of alleged violations of laws made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act consists of 4 steps as follows:

      (1) Step I, counseling, as set forth in section 8.

      (2) Step II, mediation, as set forth in section 9.

      (3) Step III, formal complaint and hearing by a hearing board, as set forth in section 10.

      (4) Step IV, judicial review if a congressional employee is aggrieved by a dismissal of a claim under section 10(c), a final decision under section 10(g), or an order under section 10(h) or if a head of an employing office is aggrieved by a final decision under section 10(g) or would be subject to an order issued under section 10(h).

      (5) Step V, as an alternative to steps III and IV, a civil action in a district court of the United States in accordance with section 12.

    A congressional employee may elect the procedure described in paragraph (3) or (5) but not both procedures.

SEC. 8. STEP I: COUNSELING.

    (a) IN GENERAL- A congressional employee alleging a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act may request counseling through the Office. The Office shall provide the employee with all relevant information with respect to the rights of the employee. A request for counseling shall be made not later than 180 days after the alleged violation forming the basis of the request for counseling occurred.

    (b) PERIOD OF COUNSELING- The period for counseling shall be 30 days unless the employee and the Office agree to reduce the period. The period shall begin on the date the request for counseling is received.

SEC. 9. STEP II: MEDIATION.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Not later than 15 days after the end of the counseling period under section 8, the employee who alleged a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act may file a request for mediation with the Office. Mediation--

      (1) may include the Office, the employee, the employing office, and individuals who are recommended by organizations composed primarily of individuals experienced in adjudicating or arbitrating personnel matters, and

      (2) shall be a process involving meetings with the parties separately or jointly for the purpose of resolving the dispute between the employee and the employing office.

    (b) MEDIATION PERIOD- The mediation period shall be 30 days beginning on the date the request for mediation is received and may be extended for an additional 30 days at the discretion of the Office. The Office shall notify the employee and the head of the employing office when the mediation period has ended.

SEC. 10. STEP III: FORMAL COMPLAINT AND HEARING.

    (a) FORMAL COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR HEARING- Not later than 30 days after receipt by the congressional employee of notice from the Office of the end of the mediation period under section 9, the congressional employee may file a formal complaint with the Office against the head of the employing office involved. No complaint may be filed unless the employee has made a timely request for counseling and has completed the procedures set forth in sections 8 and 9.

    (b) HEARING BOARD- A board of 3 independent hearing officers (hereinafter in this Act referred to as a ‘hearing board’), who are not Members of the House of Representatives, Senators, or officers or employees of the House of Representatives or Senate, chosen by the executive director (one of whom shall be designated by the executive director as the presiding hearing officer) shall be assigned to consider each complaint filed under subsection (a). The executive director shall appoint hearing officers from candidates who are recommended by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service or the Administrative Conference of the United States. A hearing board shall act by majority vote.

    (c) DISMISSAL OF FRIVOLOUS CLAIMS- Prior to a hearing under subsection (d), a hearing board may dismiss any claim that it finds to be frivolous.

    (d) HEARING- A hearing shall be conducted--

      (1) in closed session on the record by a hearing board; and

      (2) no later than 30 days after filing of the complaint under subsection (a), except that the Office may, for good cause, extend up to an additional 60 days the time for conducting a hearing.

    (e) DISCOVERY- Reasonable prehearing discovery may be permitted at the discretion of the hearing board.

    (f) SUBPOENA POWER-

      (1) IN GENERAL- A hearing board may authorize subpoenas, which shall be issued by the presiding hearing officer on behalf of the hearing board for the attendance of witnesses at proceedings of the hearing board and for the production of correspondence, books, papers, documents, and other records. The attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence may be required from any place within the United States.

      (2) FAILURE TO OBEY A SUBPOENA- If a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued under paragraph (1), the hearing board may apply to a United States district court for an order requiring that person to appear before the hearing board to give testimony, produce evidence, or both, relating to the matter under investigation. The application may be made within the judicial district where the hearing is conducted or where that person is found, resides, or transacts business. Any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as civil contempt.

      (3) SERVICE OF SUBPOENAS- The subpoenas of the hearing board shall be served in the manner provided for subpoenas issued by a United States district court under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the United States district courts.

      (4) SERVICE OF PROCESS- All process of any court to which application is to be made under paragraph (2) may be served in the judicial district in which the person required to be served resides or may be found.

      (5) IMMUNITY- The hearing board is an agency of the United States for the purpose of part V of title 18, United States Code (relating to immunity of witnesses).

    (g) HEARING BOARD DECISION- As expeditiously as possible, but in no case more than 45 days after the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing board shall make a decision in the matter for which the hearing was held. The decision of the hearing board shall be transmitted by the Office to the employee and the employing office. The decision shall state the issues raised by the complaint, describe the evidence in the record, and contain a determination as to whether a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act has occurred. Any decision of the hearing board shall contain a written statement of the reasons for the hearing board’s decision. A final decision of the hearing board shall be made available to the public by the Office.

    (h) REMEDY ORDER- If the decision of the hearing board under subsection (g) is that a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act has occurred, it shall order the remedies under such law as made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act, except that no Member of the House of Representatives, Senator, any other head of an employing office, or any agent of such a Member, Senator, or employing office, shall be personally liable for the payment of compensation. The hearing board shall have no authority to award punitive damages. The entry of an order under this subsection shall constitute a final decision for purposes of judicial review under section 11.

    (i) FUNDS- There shall be established in the House of Representatives and in the Senate a fund from which compensation (including attorney’s fees) may be paid in accordance with an order under subsection (h) or as a result of judicial review under section 11 or a civil action under section 12. From the outset of any proceeding in which compensation may be paid from a fund of the House of Representatives, the General Counsel of the House of Representatives may provide the respondent with representation.

SEC. 11. JUDICIAL REVIEW.

    (a) IN GENERAL-

      (1) TYPES OF REVIEW- Following any hearing under section 10 on a complaint relating to a provision of law described in section 3, any congressional employee aggrieved by a dismissal of a claim under section 10(c), a final decision under section 10(g), a final order under section 10(h), or any head of an employing office aggrieved by a final decision under section 10(g) or a final order under section 10(h), may petition for review by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in accordance with paragraph (2).

      (2) PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO REVIEW- The following provisions apply to a review under paragraph (1):

        (A) LAW APPLICABLE- Chapter 158 of title 28, United States Code, shall apply--

          (i) with respect to section 2344 of title 28, United States Code, service of the petition shall be on the House or Senate Legal Counsel, or the appropriate entity of an instrumentality, as the case may be, rather than on the Attorney General;

          (ii) the provisions of section 2348 of title 28, United States Code, on the authority of the Attorney General, shall not apply;

          (iii) the petition for review shall be filed not later than 90 days after the entry in the Office of a final decision under section 10(g), an order under section 10(h); and

          (iv) the Office shall be an ‘agency’ as that term is used in chapter 158 of title 28, United States Code.

        (B) STANDARD OF REVIEW- To the extent necessary for decision and when presented, the court shall decide all relevant questions of law and interpret constitutional and statutory provisions. The court shall set aside a dismissal under section 10(c), a final decision under section 10(g), or an order under section 10(h) if it is determined that the dismissal, decision, or order was--

          (i) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not consistent with law;

          (ii) not made consistent with required procedures; or

          (iii) unsupported by substantial evidence.

        (C) RECORD- In making determinations under subparagraph (B), the court shall review the whole record, or those parts of it cited by a party, and due account shall be taken of the rule of prejudicial error. The record on review shall include the record before the hearing board, the decision of the hearing board, and the order of the hearing board.

    (b) ATTORNEY’S FEES- If a congressional employee is the prevailing party in a proceeding under this section, attorney’s fees for the judicial proceeding may be allowed by the court in accordance with the standards prescribed under section 706(k) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(k)).

SEC. 12. CIVIL ACTION.

    (a) IN GENERAL-

      (1) CIVIL ACTION- A congressional employee may, within 30 days after receipt of notice from the Office of the end of the mediation period under section 9 for a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government, bring a civil action in a district court of the United States seeking relief from the alleged violation of law if such a civil action may be brought by an employee under such law. In any such civil action, any party may demand a jury trial.

      (2) EXHAUSTION REQUIREMENT- No civil action may be filed under paragraph (1) unless the employee has made a timely request for counseling and has completed the procedures set forth in sections 8 and 9.

      (3) COURT ORDER- If a court determines that a violation of law occurred, the court may only enter an order described in section 10(h).

    (b) ATTORNEY’S FEES- If a congressional employee is the prevailing party in a proceeding under this section, attorney’s fees may be allowed by the court in accordance with any standards prescribed under Federal law for the award of such fees in the event of a violation of such provision.

SEC. 13. RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINT.

    If, after a formal complaint is filed under section 10, the employee and the head of the employing office resolve the issues involved, the employee may withdraw the complaint or the parties may enter into a written agreement, subject to the approval of the executive director.

SEC. 14. PROHIBITION OF INTIMIDATION.

    Any intimidation of, or reprisal against, any employee by any Member of the House of Representatives, Senator, or officer or employee of the House of Representatives or Senate, by the Architect of the Capitol or anyone employed by the Architect of the Capitol, or by an instrumentality of the legislative branch of the Federal Government because of the exercise of a right under this Act constitutes an unlawful employment practice, which may be remedied in the same manner under this Act as is a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act.

SEC. 15. CONFIDENTIALITY.

    (a) COUNSELING- All counseling shall be strictly confidential except that the Office and the employee may agree to notify the head of the employing office of the allegations.

    (b) MEDIATION- All mediation shall be strictly confidential.

    (c) HEARINGS- Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), the hearings and deliberations of the hearing board shall be confidential.

    (d) RELEASE OF RECORDS FOR JUDICIAL ACTION- The records of hearing boards may be made public if required for the purpose of judicial action under section 9.

    (e) ACCESS BY COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS- At the discretion of the executive director, the executive director may provide to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate access to the records of the hearings, including all written and oral testimony in the possession of the hearing boards, concerning a decision under section 10(g). The executive director shall not provide such access until the executive director has consulted with the individual filing the complaint at issue in the hearing, and until the hearing board has issued the decision.

    (f) COORDINATION- The executive director shall coordinate the proceedings with the Committee on Standards and Official Conduct of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate to ensure effectiveness, to avoid duplication, and to prevent penalizing cooperation by respondents in the respective proceedings.

SEC. 16. POLITICAL AFFILIATION AND PLACE OF RESIDENCE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- It shall not be a violation of a law made applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government under this Act to consider the--

      (1) party affiliation,

      (2) domicile, or

      (3) political compatibility with the employing office,

    of a congressional employee with respect to employment decisions.

    (b) DEFINITION- For purposes of subsection (a), the term ‘employee’ means--

      (1) an employee on the staff of the House of Representatives or Senate leadership,

      (2) an employee on the staff of a committee or subcommittee,

      (3) an employee on the staff of a Member of the House of Representatives or Senate,

      (4) an officer or employee of the House of Representatives or Senate elected by the House of Representatives or Senate or appointed by a Member of the House of Representatives or Senate, other than those described in paragraphs (1) through (3), or

      (5) an applicant for a position that is to be occupied by an individual described in paragraphs (1) through (4).

SEC. 17. ENFORCEMENT; OTHER REVIEW PROHIBITED.

    (a) ENFORCEMENT- This Act shall not be construed to authorize enforcement by the executive branch of any of the laws made applicable to congressional employees under this Act.

    (b) REVIEW- No congressional employee may commence a judicial proceeding to redress practices prohibited under section 5, except as provided in this Act.

SEC. 18. STUDY.

    (a) STUDY- The Office shall conduct a study--

      (1) of the ways that access by the public to information held by the Congress may be improved, streamlined, and made consistent between the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the application of section 552 of title 5, United States Code to the legislative branch of the Federal Government; and

      (2) of the application of the requirement of section 552a of title 5, United States Code, to the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

    (b) STUDY CONTENT- The study conducted under subsection (a) shall examine--

      (1) information that is currently made available under such section 552 by Federal agencies and not by the legislative branch of the Federal Government;

      (2) information held by the non-legislative offices of the legislative branch of the Federal Government, including--

        (A) the instrumentalities,

        (B) the Architect of the Capitol,

        (C) the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives,

        (D) the Clerk of the House of Representatives,

        (E) the Secretary of the Senate,

        (F) the Inspector General of the House of Representatives,

        (G) the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives and the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate,

        (H) the United States Capitol Police, and

        (I) the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards;

      (3) financial expenditure information of the legislative branch of the Federal Government; and

      (4) provisions for judicial review of denial of access to information held by the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

    (c) TIME- The Office shall conduct the study prescribed by subsection (a) and report the results of the study to the Congress not later than one year after the date of the initial appointment of the Board of Directors.

Passed the House of Representatives January 5 (legislative day, January 4), 1995.

Attest:

Clerk.

104th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1

AN ACT

To make certain laws applicable to the legislative branch of the Federal Government.